Bosch Headlight Lens Cleaning? LED Tail Light Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by TINK, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. TINK

    TINK Been here awhile

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    [FONT=‚l‚r –¾f©][FONT=‚l‚r –¾f©]My headlight lens is milky on the inside, like a cataract eye... ask me how I know.
    Do you know if this can be cleaned up? Is the lens plastic or glass?
    Motorrad Elektrik has new Bosch replacement headlamp for $150, thinking I might go that way if my lens can't be cleaned up.

    Also like to put an LED tail light bulb in. the stock 1157 is anemic at best.
    Motorrad Elektrik has the Beacon 1 for $59, he claims to be the best LED alternative for Airheads.

    I'm not looking to spend money but I'd like to be seen on the road.
    The headlight seems to be fairly bright in spite on the cataract condition.
    The tail light does need to be addressed however.

    TINK
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    #1
  2. ZEmann

    ZEmann want to be riding

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    i tried the 3 m cleaning kits on my vehicles and it was only a temp fix

    I don't have much faith I am ordering new lenses for them
    #2
  3. RaystheBMW

    RaystheBMW 1986 R65

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    I added the STOPPER rear LED tail/brake light, which bolts on using the lower license plate holes. More lights = good. In addition to the existing lamp, it eliminates a single point of failure and it's plenty bright.
    #3
  4. craydds

    craydds Long timer

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    #4
  5. Pokie

    Pokie Just plain Pokie.

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    Tink, you didn't state what bike you have but airheads have glass lenses. The fog on the inside can be cleaned off pretty easily but you will likely need to take the unit apart. Be careful not to try to polish the reflector, the refelector is silvered and the silver can be rubbed off really easy. If your reflector is dirty, use soap and water to clean it but don't rub or scrub. Once you remove the bulb holder, don't be tempted to carry the unit around by sticking your finger through the bulb hole, finger prints are difficult to remove from the reflector without damaging the finish.
    #5
  6. 190e

    190e Been here awhile

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    If you want a safe method of cleaning the reflector Google "cleaning telescope mirrors". They use the same basic method of applying the "silver" which is actually aluminium.

    Use distilled water or an alcohol/distilled water mix.
    #6
  7. TINK

    TINK Been here awhile

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    #7
  8. boxerboy81

    boxerboy81 Stay Horizontal

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    Soap and water will clean the glass lens easy enough.
    #8
  9. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

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    If you ever need to resilver your headlight reflector, there is a great shop in Vancouver BC, Canada that has over 50 years experience doing just that.
    http://fricksresilvering.com/

    I worked for them back in the 70s, for old Alf Frick, and was close friends with his two sons. The youngest son, Jamie, took over the business about 20 years ago. They do resilvering of antique mirrors, reflectors for old cars and bikes, reflectors for light houses, and all sorts of stuff. Pricing is not all that bad, compared to purchasing a new one.
    #9
  10. squish

    squish Out of the office.

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    Tink,

    Here's what I did on my GSs light. it worked ok got a lot of the worst stuff off.
    Take a dowel, cut a groove around it about 1" back from the end, only about 3mm deep
    Wrap a piece of a well washed well used no longer needed t-shirt I use old Ride For Kids shirts...
    You want to make a big Q-tip but small enough that it will fit through the head light bulb hole.
    Once you get the size of the t-shirt bulb down tie off the bulb at the groove with safety wire or some other string

    once the tool is made then go to town wiping the inside of the lens clean.

    The other option is to split the headlight I think you can heat it up, that will melt the glue then pull the two halfs apart
    and go to town. For putting them back together again use some high heat glue. If you talk to Bruno C over where I used to work he might have some suggestions on a glue to use. Or for that matter taking the halves apart.
    #10
  11. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    It is difficult to put the headlight back together if you take it apart. Never heard of making a giant q-tip but that might be helpful. What I have heard that works and I think worth while to try because it seems the least invasive of all suggestions so far. Take the headlight assembly off the bike. Pour a couple of tablespoons amount of ordinary rubbing alcohol into the assembly. Swish around and pour out. Repeat. Air dry.

    The easiest and maybe all you need?
    #11
  12. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    Difficult to put together? it's 3 pieces and some simple wire clips. The only "difficult" part is spacing the clips out neatly---the first time.
    #12
  13. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    Take a glass in the kitchen and tap it gently with the edge of a metal spoon. listen and feel. now use the same spoon and gently tap your tail light lens. listen and feel. Now tap the headlight lens. listen and feel. If you still can't tell the plastic from the glass, buy a new one. There is a certain sensitivity to materials and assemblies that you want to either have or develop before doing mechanical work.


    You've done all this work on your project, the headlight should be trivial! But I'll give you some hot hints anyhow.

    Take the headlight out. Remove the bulbholder with bulb---wire clip attached to reflector.

    The head light is three pieces: the chrome ring, lens and reflector. They are held together with wire spring clips. The lens is sandwiched between the chrome ring and reflector. Press down on the strait leg of a clip to get it out from under the rim of the chrome ring. Or maybe it's the other leg. Use the easy one. little force is required. Work with the headlight face down on a soft folded bath towel on the table. Remove clip completely then put it back completely. Go to the next one and remove it the same way and then replace it. Then do the next. Go all the way around removing and replacing each clip in turn. Fingers only, no tools. Tap the backside of the reflector with your spoon if you want to see what you're dealing with.

    Put a dot on the rim of the reflector right across from the screw in the chrome ring (that holds everything in the bucket), use a sharpie or something.

    When this is done go around again removing every other clip and setting them aside. Then remove the remaining ones in a cross pattern. You don't have to be strict about this but it's easier. With all the clips off, lift off the reflector. Set it aside. Do not touch the shiny side---ever. Not even to see, just don't. Lens lifts out of the chrome ring. If it doesn't want to, leave it.

    Wash the lens in the sink with dish detergent and a soft sponge. Put a towel in the bottom of the sink (it gets all sorts of wet) to avoid damage if the soapy slippery lens falls.

    Let the lens dry. Then wipe the inside with a paper towel and some alcohol (real alcohol, like shellac thinner kind in a can, not rubbing alcohol---even the 97% stuff.) . Skip the windex, that is ammonia based, not good for the reflector if a trace remains. Let lens dry, will take minutes. Do not wipe the outside. Do not get fingerprints on the inside from here on.

    Assembly is reverse of disassembly. One clip, one directly across from it. Two more to make a square then fill in the rest. If you start in one spot and try to work around the ring/lens/reflector stack will slip out of neat alignment. Everything has an up and down alignment. The lens has to be right side up to throw the proper pattern, the reflector has to be right side up to orient the bulb correctly to the lens, the chrome ring has to have it's screw engage the hole in the headlight bucket, etc. Look for tabs and slots in the lens, reflector and ring to get everything right. Look strait on after you have the first clips in to see if it all looks right.

    You will not have difficulty remembering how to work the clips and how they go---unless you blew off that tedious little exercise at the beginning.

    With it together and correct put the bulb back. One fingerprint on a halogen bulb will destroy it (it gets hot, the fingerprint oil boils off making a cool spot on the glass surface and the thermal stress between hot and cool areas fractures the bulb). Wipe bulb w/ alcohol just to be safe.

    Plug wires onto light and test briefly.

    Install headlight back into bucket.

    Last step is clean the outside of the glass and chrome with alcohol and then polish or wax the chrome.

    Alcohol is a first class glass cleaner. You can cut it with water. Don't know the "best" cut but it may be advantageous on bugs. You can also go alcohol/water/soap. Maybe dish detergent, maybe "real" soap, Murphies Oil soap or liquid castile like Dr. Bronners (not the scented ones like peppermint)--or some shavings off a bar of pure castile soap. Never something with scents, colorings, deodorants, etc.



    I have some flashing rear LEDs a PO put in and then I made some others first from an LED bar out of a third brake light and more recently out of some cheap Kiddie Bait "racing" lights from an auto parts store. Pulled the boards with the LEDs on them out of the fako plastic light cans, trimmed a bit with a file and mounted into the brake light area of the stock light. Only barely lights the license plate but so far haven't gotten pulled over. Bent the plate out a bit to catch more light.
    #13
  14. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I am not going to argue about this. I said it is difficult to put together. If you want to take one apart, be my guest. I don't think it is impossible to put together, just difficult. In fact I may have done it once 35 years ago. Since then I rinse them with alcohol.
    #14
  15. georgesgiralt

    georgesgiralt Been here awhile

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    Hello !
    These headlights are easily dismantled; cleaned and put back into use. The only think to know is that the rubber around the glass will surely be toast being cooked by the heat and age.
    So buy a new rubber, windex and some tissue, dismantle it, clean it and put it back on the bike. I do this every other year (and change the rubber every other cleaning). For R45/R65 the rubber is the same as the /5. And do not show on the fiche, so you've to get it from a /5.
    #15
  16. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    The /5 has a smaller diameter light than the /7
    #16
  17. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    I didn't intend to invite an argument. But it's really pretty simple so I though maybe you were thinking another light?

    I find getting the light out of the bucket to be a complete PITA, esp. the friction one on the /5.
    #17
  18. dm635

    dm635 I Roll

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    My front lens was fogged. Separated from reflector and cleaned. Left reflector alone as it will get dull spots from touching/cleaning.

    I found an LED light to supplement the brake. Is kinda thin, but as wide as the brake/tail light housing. Wired to come on with brake. Soldered leads to correct bulb connectors. When traffic approaches from the rear I'll pump brake levers a couple times hoping they're looking ahead and not at their phone. Then there's the gray hairs to worry about. Also use front bright beam during the day. And at night as needed. Here in deer country I limit my night time riding living away from the big city.
    #18
  19. georgesgiralt

    georgesgiralt Been here awhile

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    Yes Plaka, as is the R45/R65 headlight. Both share the same diameter if not the same bulb.
    #19
  20. chasbmw

    chasbmw Long timer

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    I think that you left out the rubber seal between the glass and the reflector.

    +1 on the LED rear light units as sold by Rick in the US and Motorwaorks in the UK, they are a really well put together piece of kit. Made in Taiwan by Emerald Isle who do make some really good farkles
    #20